Pegasus hacking shows insecurity and insensitivity of Govt: Owaisi

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi demanded answers regarding the Pegasus controversy from the Union Government.

With more details emerging, the ripples from the Pegasus snooping controversy, have reached the Parliament. The investigation revealed over 300 verified numbers could have been possibly targeted using an Israeli spyware called Pagasus. Opposition parties have called for a thorough investigation into the issue. There have also been demands for the sacking of Home Minister Amit Shah. The 300 verified numbers in India include over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge. Businessmen, a former election commissioner and several activists are also part of the list.

Hyderabad Parliamentarian Asaduddin Owaisi feels what could have happened is nothing short of hacking. Speaking to TNM, he said, “What has happened is against the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and privacy which is now fundamental right. This is not even interception, this is hacking and hacking is illegal under the IT Act.”

The Union government meanwhile has not given a direct answer on whether authorised interception took place and instead has dismissed reports and called it an “attempt to malign Indian democracy,” while addressing Parliament.

Owaisi has said that the Union Government must come clean about the controversy. Owaisi said, “The basic question from which the government is running away from is whether they have bought this Pegasus spyware or not. Secondly, have they used it or not? NSO has already said that only sell it through the government. Fourthly, the IT minister’s statement talks about some SC judgment. He has not mentioned the judgement. Which SC case was this?”

Union IT Minister Vaishnaw made a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha on Monday. He claimed that the report, a day before the start of the session is no coincidence. He conveyed to the house that there is “no substance” to the claims. Ironically, it was revealed after a few hours that the Minister’s name was on the Pegasus list

The Hyderabad MP felt that the Government cannot play around with the freedom of speech and right to privacy. He said, “This shows the insecurity of the government, this shows their insensitivity of living up to the fundamental rights which an elected government must guarantee. You cannot play around with my freedom of speech and my right to privacy.”

Delving into the timeline of events, Owaisi said, “This happened after the visit of the PM to Israel. They have used tax payer’s money to buy Pegasus. There are differing estimates which say the amount is around 500 crore. We did not see this same diligence when the Chinese had entered the LAC. You failed in protecting the Indian territory and now within the country you are hacking the phones of all those people who you think are a threat to you politically.”

Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, Prahad Singh Patel, former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa, poll strategist Prashant Kishor were among those whose numbers were listed as potential targets for hacking.

The news Minute

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